I started a new job this week. I'm still getting trained in. I'm very thankful for the amount of training time I have to look forward to, because this job is a lot to get used to all at once. And of course, I'm thankful for the job. Money has been tight for a while, and maybe now there will be a bit more of it to spread around.
One of the biggest things to get used to is working at night and sleeping by day. If it were as simple as just going home and crashing, it might be OK. But some days I'll have to rush from work to a morning commitment. Other days, I'll be rushing from an evening activity to work. What with my church and musical activities, I must hope for some flexibility in scheduling - or be prepared to miss a practice here, a service there. I already missed church on Sunday because of my training schedule.
What it all adds up to is a physical and emotional challenge I haven't faced since I was a college kid. When I worked the night shift at a SuperAmerica convenience store in Mankato, Minnesota, one summer when I was hanging out around campus, I had no trouble sleeping at any time of day I chose. Now, as my 37th birthday approaches, I'm not adjusting quite so quickly. I never realized it could be so stressful to have to plan ahead when to sleep. Every day requires forethought and a decision as to whether I go to bed right after work, or at a given time so that I can get my daily allowance of sleep before getting ready for another shift. Some days I have to split my sleepytime into two or three naps, due to other things I need to do by day.
I am suddenly discovering how wonderful it is to take for granted that one will sleep through the night. Having to spend so much time thinking about when I'm going to sleep is rather like having to make a conscious effort to breathe. I'm worried that I'll slip and forget, and live to regret.